Employing a builder Plumbers
This article, Employing a builder, was last updated on 26 March 2010 and is now out of date and held in our online archive for reference. Explore our latest Home & garden articles.
Good plumber skills
A plumber needs as much general building acumen as an understanding of plumbing. For example, for fitting showers, a plumber needs to be able to lay pipes, chop out plaster/bricks and tiles, drill through walls, ensure that a bath is level and lay large pipes for waste.
For this type of work, a plumber doesn’t currently need any type of qualification. For example, they could have trained as an apprentice on-site or with another plumber. However, most have a City and Guilds plumbing qualification or an NVQ Level 2 in plumbing.
Another type of plumber is one who is able to fit a boiler and work with gas installations, as well as water. Typically, these plumbers have a qualification level that allows them to work with electricity as well, or a colleague who is qualified to do so, and can certify that the work is accurate and safe.
To do this level of work, the plumber needs to be qualified not only in plumbing, but also on the Gas Safe Register (see our gas installers page) and registered with one of the electrical organisations given on our electricians page. Other qualifications, such as a Bpec in unvented hot water storage, may be also required.
When we surveyed 1,006 Which? members in April 2012, we found that 76% trusted plumbers and heating engineers. When we asked Which? members who had used a plumber or heating engineer in the last year how satisfied they were and how likely to recommend to a friend, the resulting customer score was 83%.
Find out how long common plumbing jobs should take in the Which? guide to tradespeople costs.
Fake plumber qualifications
Research carried out by Which? found that dozens of plumbers falsely claimed to be members of the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering. It is essential that you contact the relevant trade bodies to check your plumber is a member before he or she starts work.
The growth in demand for plumbers has led some people to set up training courses lasting just a few weeks. Be aware that someone who has taken this path may not be especially well trained – check with one of the trade bodies that they approve of the course the plumber has taken.